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Police watchdog to investigate claims Lawrence family were spied on

THE police watchdog is to investigate claims that one of Britain’s most senior policemen got information from an undercover officer who spied on the Stephen Lawrence family.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said yesterday it is probing claims that Metropolitan Police commander Richard Walton met an undercover officer in 1998 and “obtained information pertaining to the Lawrence family and their supporters, potentially undermining the inquiry and public confidence.”

He was temporarily removed from his job as head of the counter-terrorism command SO15 in March following the publication of Mark Ellison QC’s report into the original Lawrence murder investigation.

The IPCC said it would also investigate allegations of discreditable conduct by two former officers, then-detective inspector Robert Lambert and Commander Colin Black, who were both identified in the review as having played a part in facilitating the meeting with the undercover officer.

It is also alleged that Mr Walton provided inconsistent accounts to the review team regarding his actions, the watchdog added.

IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: “Mark Ellison’s review highlighted a number of extremely serious matters which strike at the heart of public confidence in the police.

“Following the review, I asked the Metropolitan Police Service to consider whether the conduct of any officers or former officers should be recorded and referred to the IPCC.

“Having now received referrals in relation to all three of the above officers and, in view of the seriousness of the matter and the significant public interest, I have determined the IPCC should conduct an independent investigation.” 

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